Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The NLDS Roster

Update: Rowand will be on the roster. It's looking like Zito will not. I think that's a mistake.

Every other Giants blog has done or will do a postseason roster post, but it's pretty much an obligation and we seem to have some different opinions than everybody else anyway. As you probably know, postseason rosters are set at 25 players, so the Giants have a few tough decisions to make regarding who they want to keep and who they want to leave off the postseason roster. I'm going to break down how I think the roster should be formed, starting with the pitchers.


Bochy has stated that he's likely to carry an 11 man staff, and there are a few guys who are locks to be on the roster. Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Bumgarner are all guarantees. The first three are pretty obvious choices and Bumgarner has pitched too well to be left off the roster. Bochy said today that if a 4th starter is used, it will be Bumgarner.

That leaves 7 guys for the bullpen. The combination of Casilla, Lopez, Ramirez, Romo, and Wilson in the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th innings worked extremely well late in the year, so they are all locks. That means there are 2 spots available for 5 guys: Barry Zito, Jeremy Affeldt, Dan Runzler, Chris Ray and Guillermo Mota. I would say Ray and Runzler do not make the cut, as Ray is pretty mediocre and Runzler can struggle with control. Jeremy Affeldt probably makes it because the Giants could use another lefty.

The last roster spot is where we seem to disagree with most people. Between Guillermo Mota and Barry Zito, I'm going with Zito. Ever since his terrible start in the final series against the Padres, the Leave Barry Zito Off the Postseason Roster Movement has gained a ton of momentum and I don't get it. I've heard he takes too long to warm up or he doesn't have bullpen experience or the Giants don't need another lefty or he just isn't good enough. Let me start by saying that pitchers are pitchers. Guys are usually put in the bullpen because they don't have enough pitches or control to be in the starting rotation. You don't often hear that a starting pitcher doesn't have what it takes to be a reliever. If he really needs a ton of time to warm up, so what? If he needs to long toss before games, let him long toss. Zito is not supposed to be a lefty specialist out of the pen. His value comes from being able to give the team innings when they need them. The rotation has been spectacular, but disaster starts happen. Having Zito come in to pitch a few innings at a time when needed would keep the bullpen fresh and be extremely valuable. I know Giants fans have a short-term memory and when they needed a good Barry Zito start at a crucial time, he failed. And when it was needed the most, Guillermo Mota gave the Giants 2-3 great innings out of the bullpen. But I can't be convinced that Zito isn't one of the best 11 pitchers on the roster and that the Giants don't need a long man. His numbers this year(4.15 ERA, 1.344 WHIP) aren't even terrible. Barry Zito should be on the NLDS roster.


With 11 pitchers, the Giants will carry 14 position players. Certain guys like Torres, Sanchez, Huff, Posey, Burrell, Ross, Uribe, and Sandoval will absolutely be on the roster. I figure Schierholtz, Fontenot, and Whiteside are pretty sure bets for the bench because of their defensive value.

That means Guillen, Rowand, Renteria, and Ishikawa will fight for the last 3 spots. Just yesterday, Andrew Baggarly proposed leaving Jose Guillen off the roster entirely, which seemed ridiculous to me at the time, but isn't all that crazy. Guillen has been struggling immensely for a couple of weeks now and it's time for Cody Ross to be in the starting lineup. What it comes down to for me is Guillen vs. Rowand. Rowand does provide some defensive value, but very little offensive value. Guillen provides negative defensive value and while he hasn't been providing any offensive value lately, when he's right, he's a much more dangerous threat on offense than Rowand. Despite his recent struggles, I have to go with Guillen. Rowand's defensive value is a big deal but in a pinch-hit situation, I'll take Guillen. However, I might have a hard time arguing with you if you pick Rowand.

Renteria will probably make the cut just because he's the only true shortstop on the team. That means the final spot goes to Rowand or Ishikawa. To me, this is basically a draw. Like I said, Rowand does provide some defensive value in the outfield and Ishikawa would even out the bench with 3 RH and 3 LH, while also providing defensive value at 1st base. My gut tells me Ishikawa, but I'm not really sure why. A good case could be made for either player.

Final Roster:

Starting Lineup




Starting Rotation




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